Interested in investing or releasing your product in Canada? Here are a few facts that might help you through your conquest of the French Canadian market.
30% of Canadians can speak French.
According to the 2011 Census, almost 10 million Canadians say they can speak French. That represents 30,1% off all Canadians. Impressive, right? French is not necessarily their first language, but they are able to conduct a conversation in French.
New Brunswick is officially the only bilingual province.
Surprising, isn’t it? We would think that Quebec is the only province with two official languages, but the thing is Quebec has only one official language: French. The citizens and businesses of the Province of Quebec are governed by the Charter of the French Language, which establishes the regulations about the use of French. With two official languages, New Brunswick uses both in English and French. English is the official language of all the other Canadian provinces and territories except Nunavut (territory north of the province of Quebec) which has also two indigenous official languages.
In Quebec, 82.5% of people speak French at home.
French is the mother tongue of 6,231,600 Quebecers. In terms of numbers, diving into the French Canadian market is like releasing your product or service in a country the size of Lebanon or Nicaragua which both count a population of approximately 6 million people.
French is spoken throughout Canada.
While it is mostly spoken in Quebec, French also exists in many parts of Canada, namely Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. There are French schools in each of these provinces in communities where there is a large number of francophones.
Also, Statistics Canada created a map that illustrates this distribution very well (quite more precise than the one above!).
In Quebec, more than 4 million people speak ONLY French.
As Quebecers, we learn English as a second language at school and, of course, we are surrounded by English in many ways (both physically and culturally). That being said, a large number of people, usually located in remote regions, don’t speak English at all. As a business that would like to reach this market, you better assume that French is the only language that will be understood and translate your marketing material accordingly.
If you’d like to know what needs to be translated in French when you do business in Quebec, I suggest you to read our article about this important question!